Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Almost Live Update from Baghdad

My apologies to John Keister for using the name of that great local Seattle comedy show, but the term, "Almost Live" perfectly describes me at this minute. It's 0030 hours, (Half-past Midnight), I just walked in the door to my CHU, after 16 hours in the office. The culprit behind this late night is what's innocently-named, "Team Chief Case Review". Once a week, our supervisors review agent's case files, write copious notes about what needs to be corrected, and return 'em to us. Of course, most of us shoot for "zero defects", but that almost never happens. The amount of documentation required for each case file ranges from a minimum of 50 pages for a basic, no-brainer investigation. A homicide, or even a bus theft case file can easily grow rapidly to the size of a NYC phone book...and yep, I mean the Yellow Pages! In between assembling all this pulp filler, there's some actual detectin' going on, plus plenty of phone calls, emails, and the usual Army dumb stuff, like having to check if we still have our weapons with us...
Finally, my much younger colleagues spend about 20% of each hour playing tricks on each other, or other hi-jinks, such as engaging in hand-sanitizer gel fights, impromptu no holds-barred wrestling matches, or other activities too gross to describe here. The soundtrack to all of this circus behavior is a combination of hip-hop, country-western, and the occasional classic oldies tune. (which to my colleagues means from the early 90's) Believe me when I say that this might not be the optimum environment to support concentration and organization skills. So, rather than be a stick in the mud (and the circus IS usually rather entertaining, at least until somebody gets an eye put out), I just do my best to putt along, until everyone else leaves around 7 p.m. that's when I crank up my own tunes (a mix of Celtic, Bollywood, and rock music, which my mates refer to as "Geezer Eclectic"), and start putting files together.
I can only handle these "surges" once a week, but it is sure nice to have my files stacked in the Team Chief's office, ready for inspection first thing in the morning.
Besides, while he's occupied with my stack o' files, I can grab a nap in the porta-john, which is surprisingly comfortable when the weather is cool.

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